Wednesday, July 26, 2017

FRESH TOMATO PASTA SAUCE RECIPE

Several of you have asked what we've done with the veggies we've harvested. We've eaten it, ha!  And of course we've given away some to coworkers.   

Garden fresh tomatoes
But here's what we did with a small harvest of tomatoes.


2nd Man diced them up and added some seasonings. Dried basil, parsley, some garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Really it's just to taste. The juice is what naturally came out of the tomatoes  


Meanwhile, he browned 1 1/2 lbs ground beef.
Then added the tomato mixture. 


Reduce heat to low and simmer for about ten minutes or until the sauce begins to reduce and thicken, which concentrates the flavors.  


While that's happening, he boiled some pasta.  You can use any shape you like, we chose this one because it's got crevices to hold meat sauce.

Pasta and meat sauce
Add the cooked and drained pasta to the meat sauce and stir to combine.  It's really that simple.

Fresh tomato sauce with pasta
Put in a dish and serve...with cheese on top...


...or without.  It's wonderful either way, ha!

This is just a nice way to make up a quick sauce, no jar/store brand required.  It's a light sauce, not heavy or rich and that's what makes it so good.  Of course with garden fresh tomatoes, um, the flavor is tenfold!  Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

WE HAVE TRAIL CAMERAS

WOO HOO!  

This is one of the things we've been wanting for the farm (well, maybe me more so than 2nd Man, ha). Several of you have trail cams and have posted pictures on your blogs.  We love seeing them and so that pushed it up on our "want list" even more.  

Well, the other day was AMAZON PRIME day.  They had all sorts of great deals, many of them would just appear for a few hours and then expire.  One of those deals was for trail cameras. 

Blazevideo Digital Trail Camera
I couldn't pass that deal up for sure...and here they are.  It was a deal where you could buy two for about the same price as one.  These are 16 megapixel, waterproof, and have night vision.

These are gone from being on sale but there are plenty of them still for sale.


Camouflage trail cam
They are camouflaged of course and they take still photos AND video.

I couldn't wait to get them put up!  


I put the first one on one of the porch posts.  


This is the view it will have so that it will cover the front yard and driveway.  


The second one I put on this tree near the mower shed.  Hmm, looks like the camouflage is not so camouflaged on THIS tree, ha.  


Ands here is the view that it will have.  I pointed it toward the back of the house to see what we could capture.  The time I saw a coyote, it was in the pasture behind our house.  Plus if anything is interested in the fruit tress, we'll see what it is.  

They utilize the SD memory cards so I bought four cards so we'll have two extra.  What we'll do is swap them out every weekend so we can bring the most recent one back into town and see what we captured by loading it into the computer and put the empty one in the trail cams for the next week.

In a way we hope we don't capture anything but in another way, I hope there are some animals on there so we can see what's creeping around while we are gone.  I wish they were live webcams but that will come later when we get WiFi at the farm.  

Until then, we'll see what we capture with these two cameras for now.  Anyone have any "trial and error" tips for using them?  Where they should or shouldn't be?  Up high/down low?

Monday, July 24, 2017

DUCKS, JALAPEÑO CHEESE, HARVEST AND ART, WEEKEND UPDATE

It was hot.  So so hot.  And humid.  But that goes without saying this time of year in these parts.  

Duck comes to visit
2nd Family's duck came to visit.  After I mowed, he was right there running around the front yard.  Love having their furred and feathered family members come to visit.  It's the best of both worlds, we get to play with them and enjoy having them around and then they go back home, ha.  

Harvest 
Here is the harvest basket for this weekend.  It looks a lot like the one last week.  These will probably be the last of the eggplants, there are two more small ones on the bush but I'm guessing the heat will put that to an end.  The okra is fizzling out too, not sure what happened.  Not enough water?  Too much water?  Something got to it?  We thought okra was pretty much indestructible. 

Jalapeno Queso Fresco
I made this quick snack with some of our jalapeños.  I simply took a roasted jalapeño, finely minced it up and mixed it into some Queso Fresco (Mexican crumbling cheese).  Then we sprinkled that over some chips and added some fresh sliced on top.

So easy and good (but spicy!).  

Our Happy Place
This was a birthday present this year from a very sweet friend and we got it hung up at the farm.  She and I were talking once about the farm and I mentioned to her how happy we are when we are there and she said when she saw this, she knew it was perfect for us.  We told her we'd put it on the blog and I have been meaning to post a picture of it. 

The farm is indeed Our Happy Place!
(thank you "D", we luv ya!) 

For those that missed yesterday's post, click this link to see some LAND SHARKS at the farm, LOL!


Sunday, July 23, 2017

SHARK WEEK 2017

Regular blog readers will know that one of our favorite Summer diversions on TV is "Shark Week" on Discovery Channel.  It starts tonight.

HERE is the schedule for those interested.

In honor of our favorite time of Summer, I took these photos at the farm of...LAND SHARKS (thanks Carol!)


Why do I hear the Jaws theme while mowing?


NOOOOOO!!!
Not the Jeep!  Save the Zen Machine!


Um, I think I'll put the mower back in the shed later...

Shark Week 2017
Hope you are having a good, shark free weekend so far.  We got some basic stuff done yesterday but it was a "feels like" of 108 degrees at one point so not much got done inside or outside.  I mowed, watered the trees, pulled a few weeds and about had a heatstroke.  Today is rain.

Time for some sharks.
  

Friday, July 21, 2017

A TALE OF TWO SUNSETS

Occasionally I like to find two similar pictures but from different perspectives of the city and the farm.  Here is a set...

City Sunset
This is sunset as seen from our balcony in downtown.  Always a pretty sight with the twinkling building lights just coming on...

Country Sunset
And this is the sunset last month at the farm when we spent the night. They both are pretty, in different ways of course, but there is still something about sunset in the country that's just on a completely different level.  It's just the sun and the sky.  





Wednesday, July 19, 2017

HOW TO SHRED AND FREEZE ZUCCHINI FOR LATER USE

(see bottom for Thursday update)

Here is what we did with some of our zucchini this first season.  We shredded it and froze it for future use in recipes (zucchini bread).

How to shred zucchini for freezing
I used the shredding disc on the food processor, a miracle tool if EVER there was one in the kitchen.  Wash and cut off each end.


Next, I sliced them into pieces that would fit in the chute of the food processor.  Just by pushing them down, they shred up in seconds.

Shredding zucchini in the food processor
Here's a full batch of shredded zucchini, ready for the next few steps.


I put a mesh strainer in a large bowl (so it sets up above) and allows the liquid to drain.


At this point I mixed in 1 tsp of salt.  This is to help push out the liquid.  I mixed it around with my hands and then just left it alone to sit.


Here it is after about 15 minutes.  
Definitely reduced down.


A lot of liquid drains out.


Did I say a lot?

Yep, that batch produced four cups!  Some people freeze it without the draining step but we heard it can make the thawed zucchini a bit too mushy to be used in baking. The salt is very minimal (and optional) so it doesn't affect anything later.  

Zucchini shreds for freezing
I divided all of it into 2 cup portions, loosely packed, to make the perfect amount for a recipe.

 

I did another batch of zucchini and had another full bowl of shreds.  

Shredded zucchini ready for freezing
We ended up with 3 bags of two cups each for the freezer from this batch.  We already had three other bags from a few weeks ago.

Vacuum sealed shredded zucchini
We used our vacuum sealer to take out all the air so it lasts longer in the freezer.  2nd Man can't wait to make some zucchini bread.

He's never done it, 
anyone have a great recipe?

(I'll catch up on comments tonight)

THURSDAY UPDATE:  We had sporadic internet connection (they are upgrading in the building) and so it was just too hard to try to reply and to put up a new post.  I could try from the phone but these 50+ year old eyes aren't cut out for THAT much phone time.  More later when we know it's up and running!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

NEW COLORFUL BIRDBATH

 Was at a grocery store the other day (of all places!) and they had these outside the entrance.  I was hooked immediately.  They are glazed and painted terra-cotta.  I took pictures of them and brought them home to decide.  We decided that any one of them would be fine. Bright colors and best of all?  These were only $25 EACH!!! 


I liked this one the best...but they only had one.  Of course when I went back, it was gone.  


This was second choice...


This was third but really, any one of them would be perfect.  

Ceramic glazed terra-cotta birdbath
This is the one we ended up with and here it is in its new home at the farm.  We put it in the corner flowerbed by the porch stairs, replacing the concrete one.  What will we do with the concrete one?  Oh, we definitely have plans for that one.  
Hint:  Future bees will love it.  

We love that it adds color and interest that will be there year round.  Heck at this price, if the red one reappears, perhaps I'll pick it up too. 

Can you have too many birdbaths?

Monday, July 17, 2017

RANDOM MONDAY MUSINGS

For those that saw the post yesterday, you know our weekend was a washout.  But we did manage to get a few things done since I didn't have to mow.

Dried okra pods for crafting
We have been leaving a few okra on the plants each week so that they can dry out.  Why?  Not for seed saving (already have some of those).  These, and a few more, will be saved for some holiday craft projects. Hey, as fast as it comes in, if we can't eat all of it, we might as well use it for something else.

Harvest Monday
Here's our harvest for the week some eggplant and more fresh jalapeños.  The jalapeños are being diced and flash frozen (like we posted about HERE) for use while cooking throughout the year.


Remember the great Alaskan basket I found that someone had discarded?  And we were going to use it for the random feathers we had found at the farm?  OOPS!  The feathers are a bit too big.  

Time to come up with a Plan B for the basket.

Funnel cloud?
I posted this picture yesterday but for those that missed it, I thought we'd share it again because it's kind of neat...in a creepy kind of way, ha.

There were funnel clouds reported all over this part of the state and when I was driving back into town, I saw this, pulled over and took a picture.  Several other people stopped too.  We all debated what it might be but decided it was best not to stick around to find out.  Nothing came of it but it looks like just maybe "something" was trying to happen.  Yikes!

Homemade Italian cream cake
And now for something delicious looking (and I think quite beautiful).  I say "looking" because I don't get to eat it!  BOO!  2nd Man made this Italian cream cake for a coworker's birthday.  This is what they requested.  Fortunately, I have had the joy of tasting this when he has made it before (delicious!).  And yep, I'll have to get him to share the recipe one of these days (he's worked hard to perfect it, getting him to turn it loose might require some bribery, ha).  

This coming weekend is supposed to be dry, so hopefully we can get out there and get some more stuff done.  Of course it will probably be 110, sigh.   

Hope you had a great weekend!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

WEEKEND WEATHER WASHOUT


I didn't have to mow, the grass is brown and patchy and hasn't grown much...


I did edge, all around the fruit trees and the house and barns and flowerbeds.  That's always a relief.  It was hot for most of the afternoon, we got close to 100 until the clouds started building...


The rain was coming. I love seeing the rain in the distance raining in just one area...


But it kept coming and getting darker... 


And darker...


Not entirely sure if this was one, but there were reports of funnel clouds in the area (and we were under a tornado warning at one point).  I pulled over on the side of the road to take this picture.    


The farm is that little dot in the middle of the red (heaviest storms/rain).  This was yesterday when I got back into town.  The drive back was pretty intense. 2nd Family said we ended up with about 2 inches of rain...and today is more rain.